Twitter Replacing Rails? So?

2011-04-09 21:25:00 +0000

Twitter are reportedly moving away from Ruby on Rails. It’s on a lot of people’s tweets and on our Rails Oceania Mailing list. But the real question that should be asked is “So?”

Ruby on Rails is a tool for a job. I run a Ruby and Ruby on Rails consulting firm and we use Ruby and Rails to do one thing extremely well, that is rapid, highly customised, web application development. We can produce applications that fit very complex business models at break neck speed.

These same applications can then go on, with little or no modification mind, to serve more requests than ninety nine point lots of nines websites will ever need.

But one thing that Ruby is not suited to is highly concurrent, speed optimised computing. It’s not designed to. Ruby’s stated design goal by Matz (paraphrasing) is programmer happiness and help change the way us programmers think by providing a language that allows us to express our ideas and thoughts rapidly, elegantly and simply.

If you want something insanely fast, highly concurrent and optimised to the gills for speed, use something that is not Ruby, maybe Erlang, Scala, C, whatever.

If you need a web site developed that is on budget, has a really great development curve and delivers highly productive and successful web applications in the shortest possible times, use Rails.

I think the real surprise should not be “OMG, Twitter is moving their search feature away from Rails!” I think the point is “OMG, Rails has managed to run twitter’s search feature successfully for THIS LONG?!”